STONINGTON — A teatime visit with Alexandra Stoddard in her storybook Stonington home is what I imagine a visit with a fairy godmother — or a saint — must be like.
From the moment I walked inside Stoddard’s sunny and cheerful Water Street home, a feeling of peace — of beauty, of goodness, of comfort — washed over me and all my worries were swept away.
Actually it began before I even entered her inviting 1775 clapboard home, which was filled with the fragrant aroma of honeysuckle and jasmine on the day of my visit. As I made my way through the gate, I spied a handful of yellow tulip petals strewn upon the giant granite steps leading into her large white house.
They were placed there intentionally, said Stoddard, a philosopher of contemporary living and the bestselling author of 28 books. She tossed them there as a welcoming gesture, she said. After all, what better way to share the pretty petals. The gesture was an example of Stoddard’s grace and style — and of her love.
Alexandra Stoddard knows how to make her guests feel welcome — feel loved.
Next Wednesday, Feb. 28, Stoddard will welcome all those who attend her talk at La Grua Center, just a few blocks away from Stoddard’s house, and share her concept of living in love, discuss her new book and share her remarkable insights.
On the last day of February — the month of love — Stoddard said she plans to discuss what she calls the four main aspects of love: self-love, intimate love, which includes family love, love of community, and love of giving.
“I’m going to ask us all to renew our love,” said Stoddard, who was dressed stylishly in a cornflower blue tunic and black slacks. “You can overcome almost anything with love.”
“I’m fulfilling my promise to live in love,” added Stoddard, who recently completed book No. 29, “Joyful Living in the Real World.” “I promised Peter I would. He promised me he’d never leave me and he hasn’t.”
Peter is Peter Megargee Brown, Stoddard’s beloved late husband, who died in September 2014. She and Peter, who was 20 years older, had been married for 40 years and four months and remained “deeply in love” throughout their time together.
When he died, said Stoddard, who doesn’t own a computer and writes everything longhand with her “magic” fountain pen from Paris, she took a break from finishing her book.
She studied with the Dalai Lama, and examined the ideas of transformation and inspiration.
She returned to Paris, the place she and Peter visited regularly during their marriage, to reconnect with her husband’s spirit and came back renewed and refreshed.
“I’m on fire,” she said as she poured peach tea from a Quimper Faience tea pot. “And I feel blessed.”
Stoddard said she plans to talk about Peter during her Wednesday talk and use him as an example of living in love and embracing change.
“You can keep your childhood eunthusiams,” she insisted. “It’s OK to be a little zany and goofy. It’s OK to jump for joy.”
If only, she said, we can open up to “this incredible miracle of being alive.”
“My story is a love story,” said the mother of two daughters — Alexandra “AB” is an award-winning political journalist, and daughter Brooke, a former style editor and a design consultant — and grandmother of four.
“If you are happy, you will radiate love” beamed Stoddard, who has been a guest on the Oprah show, and the “Today” show, and has been interviewed by Barbara Walters and Katie Couric. She has also been profiled in magazines and newspapers around the world.
Stoddard said she will share more suggestions for living in love and tell stories of love with her audience next Wednesday. A limited number of tickets are also available for $99 for an intimate “Living in Love” dinner at Breakwater at 8 p.m. For more information, visit banksquarebooks.com